5. Doubles continues to receive much deserved airtime from Tennis Channel and NBC in America. Following the Women’s Final, the Mens’ Double Final was presented. The Bryan’s lost to Spain’s Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez 4-6, 7-6, 3-6. The match was thrilling as the Lopez’s pushed the Bryans back to the baseline fighting to handle Feliciano’s pace and placement. This upset is surpassed only by the Leandra Peas and Hindis win over Sania Mirza and Ivan Dodig 4-6, 6-4, 10-8. This was a close match. When one team dominated, the other fought back and took control. It was nice to see Paes win his career grand slam and his tenth mixed doubles slam. His old-school style is a great match with Hingis. It will be interesting to see if he goes to Rio and who he partners with for doubles given the controversy he and Mahesh Bhupathi encountered for the London Olympics 2012. Also Garcia and Mladenovic defeated Makarova and Vesnina in the Women’s Doubles 6-3, 2-6, 6-4..
4. Tommy Haas was named Tournament Director of BNP Paribas Open (Indian Wells). This is surprising. Not only is he an active player, but he is also German and not known to be a supporter of women’s tennis or issues on tour. Given the previous director’s sexist comments and resignation, this is a risky choice for the biggest joint event outside of a slam. Of all the current problems in the sport, this isn’t a wise move. Is Haas even qualified for the role beyond that of a goodwill ambassador? More importantly, let’s wait to see what if any concerns WTA CEO Simon voices on behalf of his tour. Do note, that this appointment is pending ATP and WTA approval.
3. Six months into his tenure as WTA CEO Steve Simon has yet to make any noticeable changes. At the WTA Finals (November 2015) he bemoaned the need to address the schedule to ensure the health and well-being of the players. Granted, schedule changes will require at least a year to implement changes, but if changes are in the pipeline, Simon would do well to embrace transparency. He needs to announce plans and provide a timetable. He has said, “We’re building our infrastructure and building a solid foundation. This is a great team to work with. We’ve cleaned up a lot of the internal issues and have stabilized ourselves financially; we have a good outlook moving forward.” Though the beIN Sports/PERFORM ten-year agreement is seemingly lucrative ($525 million) and cements WTA Media, the tours dedicated media arm, it may not be in fans’ best interest. It is unclear if fans will need to subscribe to new outlets to watch WTA matches. American Tennis fans will need ESPN, Tennis Channel and beIN to enjoy tennis. For more on this issue, check-out Fan Series: Accessibility Accessibility is not Relegated to Availability.
2. Wawrinka’s lost to Murray set-up the umpteenth Djokovic and Murray match; this is their first final at Roland-Garros. Though I missed this match, I called this one. An in form Wawrinka is the only player that could truly disrupt Djokovic on the clay. Djokovic defeated Murray in four sets 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4. Though super fit and a good player, Murray has to try something new if he is ever to defeat the giant that is Djokovic. Congratulations to the new career grand slam winner. He is on course for the grand slam. There isn’t much resistance the top ten offers this champ.
1. Garbine Muguruza has won her first grand slam, defeating Serena Williams 7-5, 6-4. The French Open will be forever known as the slam that toppled the people’s gladiator. The city was flooding, prompting The Louvre Museum to move priceless art and closing for several days. However, tennis’ true treasure, Serena Williams, was forced to play four consecutive days. Somber throughout the tournament, she did not complain.”I’m not one to ever make excuses. I have played four or five matches in a row lots of times. I just didn’t do what I needed to do. I didn’t play the game I needed to play to win and she did. Adductor or not, she played to win. That’s what she did.”
In Serena’s eyes and demeanor it was apparent that she was less than one hundred percent. She marched into the final determined to put her best foot forward. Her opponent, was ready. Garbine Muguruza had her own story to fulfill and she set-out unapologetically to bring the trophy back to Spain. She was aggressive, focused and calm; she was as even as tempered as one could be when facing what WTA’s Courtney Nguyen has coined the sport’s greatest escape artist. In post press Serena has said that Muguruza played the big points better. This is true. Her game was not flawless but it was enough. She had eighteen winners and twenty-five error. nine double faults, but seventy-four percent first serve points won and forty-five percent second serve points won. The champion had no major let downs. But the deciding factor was Serena’s lack of freedom on the court. Her injury relieved her of the confidence and ability to go big when it really counted. Relax, she has not retired. She is still arguably the best. Slam number eighteen took a while. If number twenty-two takes a year, so be it. When it comes I will be here applauding!